5 Things You Should Know about Climate Change March 31, 2021


1 It’s real, it’s happening now, and it’s human-caused. OK, you already knew that.



Climate change endangers health in so many ways. Rising temperatures can cause heat stroke, increase conditions for formation of ground-level ozone (smog), and create dangerous urban “heat islands.” Heat and drought can reduce crop yields and create conditions for devastating wildfires. Intense storms can provoke accidents and drowning, spread infectious diseases and parasites, disperse sewage, chemicals and other dangerous substances, contaminate drinking water, damage agricultural land, and cause erosion and landslides. For more, see PSR’s 2019 report, Heat, Fire, Water: How Climate Change Has Created a Public Health Emergency.



Methane (“fracked” gas or “natural” gas) is a major driver of climate change. During its first 20 years in the atmosphere, methane is over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide. It loses potency as it degrades, but it remains far more potent than CO2 even over 100 years. In any case, we only have a little more than 20 years to cut our greenhouse gas emissions entirely.



Renewable energy is surging. The U.S. solar industry grew 43% and installed a record 19.2 gigawatts of capacity in 2020. The Biden administration is promoting offshore wind and other renewable energy sources. Renewables investors are outpacing fossil fuel investors across the globe.



Americans are increasingly receptive to messages about climate change. Awareness of climate change health harms has increased among people most worried about global warming, but also among those who previously gave the issue little thought and were not very worried.


What does this all mean?

We need to transition off of fossil fuels, and we can. Solutions are at hand and are increasingly affordable. And your neighbors are likely more willing to talk about climate change, and believe that it is real, than in the past.

But we must keep sharing these important messages, and fast. Time is limited.

Want to help? Become a PSR “Climate Ambassador.”

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